A topic that is currently being hotly debated in the literature is whether the qualities that individuals say they ideally desire in a romantic partner actually influence their mate selections. That is, do individuals tend to initiate relationships with others who more closely match their ideal preferences?While some studies have shown that ideal mate standards influence relationship initiation (Burriss, Welling, & Puts, 2011; DeBruine et al., 2006; Pérusse, 1994), other studies have challenged the role that ideal preferences play in actual mate selection (Eastwick & Finkel, 2008; Eastwick, Finkel, & Eagly, 2011). One major limitation of existing research in this area is that mate preferences are often measured retrospectively, after participants become involved in a relationship. In addition, studies that have attempted to evaluate the link between ideal mate standards and actual relationship initiation have tended to focus on interpersonal attraction rather than actual relationship initiation, such as speed dating contexts.The present study aims to resolve the inconsistencies in this area by examining ideal mate preferences and actual relationship initiation over an extended period of time (6 months) in a sample of individuals who are single at the initial testing session (i.e. not involved in a romantic relationship). If and when these individuals enter a relationship, the attributes of the new partner will be assessed, as well as how the new relationship progresses over time. This research will determine whether people enter relationships with individuals who more closely match their ideal mate preferences (or particular ideal preferences, and not others), and/or whether relationships develop more positively when greater ideal consistency exists. *Note, at time of registration the majority of data have been collected, but no data have been looked at or analyzed (a number of participants are completing monthly surveys and all data should be collected by August 2014).
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